If you’re at your wits’ end from doing countless crunches to burn belly fat or logging endless miles to trim your waistline and not seeing results, we feel you. Burning body fat can seem impossible—especially when targeting a specific area. While strengthening your core and getting in your cardio can help you shed unwanted pounds, these alone won’t keep weight off in the long term. To shine some light on the issue, we asked a registered dietitian to share wisdom on natural ways to burn fat not only in your waist but your entire body. If this piques your interest, keep reading to learn how to lose body fat everywhere through five natural practices.
The key to finding sustainable, natural ways to burn fat is to develop a comprehensive plan for living a healthy lifestyle—one that includes eating healthy, exercising regularly, sleeping well, managing stress, and leaving those all-too-tempting processed foods behind at the grocery store. Essentially, you can break it down into three crucial steps. Step one is to create a sustainable plan for achieving your weight loss goals. Step two is to follow through and get results. And step three is to prime yourself for long-term success by sticking with your newfound healthy habits for the long haul. Sounds easy, right? Well, like any other process, building healthy habits to burn fat is easier said than done.
Before embarking on your fat-burning endeavor, read these five natural ways to lose body fat everywhere from a dietitian and weight loss expert. Educating yourself will give you the confidence and know-how to kickstart your weight loss journey and stay motivated. So take a deep breath, stay calm, and remember you have these tips to fall back on should you feel overwhelmed or lost along the way.
Bianca Garcia, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist with Health Canal, tells Eat This, Not That!, “Limiting your intake of fancy coffees can quickly reduce fat all over your body. These coffees, like a pumpkin spice latte, come with so much added sugar you could make a meal out of it.”
An average latte could contain about 24 grams (or six teaspoons) of sugar. Research shows that sugar-sweetened beverages like lattes promote weight gain when consumed regularly. Instead, choose black coffee most of the time to cut out the syrups, sugars, milk, and whipped cream that contribute to excess calorie intake. “When you consume excess sugar, your body sends it to the liver where it’s converted to fat and stored for later use,” explains Garcia.
Whether you’re keto, carnivore, vegan, or paleo, there’s one thing these competing diet trends have in common: to eliminate (or limit) ultra-processed foods to promote weight loss. Foods such as processed meats, pastries, sweets, desserts, and white bread are high in calories and other harmful ingredients, which contribute significantly to weight gain, according to a study published in Cell Metabolism.
“Most processed foods are high in sugar and fat—addictive ingredients that keep you wanting (and buying) more,” Garcia explains. “They contribute to overall body fat, and removing them from your diet can help you to lose fat that was contributed by these foods naturally.”
If you think choosing “sugar-free” products is a healthier option, think again. The phrase “sugar-free” is a sneaky marketing tactic to convince you that what you’re buying is beneficial because it doesn’t contain sugar. However, manufacturers usually swap sugar for artificial sweeteners, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, along with other harmful ingredients that are just as bad or worse for your health. For example, aspartame and acesulfame-K (two widely used artificial sweeteners) have been associated with increased cancer risk, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine.
“Buying sugar-free may reduce your sugar intake but sometimes, in exchange, fat will be added,” says Garcia. “The same goes for fat-free; you may consume more sugar to compensate for the flavor. However, if these foods are a part of your diet, removing them can shed that extra fat you store all over your body.”
Exercise that elevates your heart rate into the fat-burning zone is a healthy and natural way to shed pounds. Research shows that your fat-burning zone typically falls between 60% and 80% of your maximum heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting how old you are from 220, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Cardio gets you sweating and burning calories,” says Garcia. “Though it won’t gain you much muscle, cardio will help you burn body fat.” Cardio workouts that keep your heart rate up for sustained periods include running, cycling, rowing, swimming, brisk walking, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Walking is an activity that nearly everyone at any fitness level can do to get their heart rate up and burn calories. Besides burning body fat and promoting weight loss, studies reveal that going on a walk every day can decrease your chance of developing heart disease (the number one killer in the United States), stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Taking a healthy walk can also lessen stress, help you sleep better, boost your mood, and promote longevity.
Garcia says, “Walking is a low-impact physical activity that can help you lose overall body fat over time. You can do it several times a day in small intervals.”